Cinq Scots with French connections out to sink hosts

When Scotland run out at Le Stadium (Nord Lille Metropole) in Lille (kick-off 8pm GMT, live on BBC ALBA) on Saturday evening there will be five visiting players for whom the match will mean just that little bit more to.

The round three Women’s Six Nations test against France is a tough one for Scotland, of that there is no doubt.

However, Shade Munro’s matchday 23 has a handful of players in it who play or have played their club rugby in France.

Captain Lisa Thomson

Last season saw Thomson, 21, spend a year playing professionally in France with LMRCV and now she is turning out for Darlington Mowden Park Sharks in the Tyrrell’s Premier 15s in England and back studying at Edinburgh University.

Looking back on her year in France centre Thomson said:  “I loved it. It was totally out of my comfort zone, but I think the experience made me a better rugby player and a better person and I will always look back on that time fondly.

“The standard of rugby over there was great and everyone in Lille made me feel so welcome and the training really pushed me on and made me realise what I could achieve.

“Learning about the culture and the language was a bit tougher, but overall a really good thing to have done.”

Full-back Chloe Rollie

The 23-year-old from Jedburgh is in her second season with LMRCV.

“The game being in Lille is a huge confidence booster for me. It feels like I’ll be at home. I’m very comfortable there having been there for two seasons,” she said.

“Playing pro in France has helped me definitely on the pitch, dealing with pressure and improving my skills. In day-to-day life, I’ve had to do a lot of things to fit in and teach myself a basic level of French.

“Both aspects have changed me. I believe in myself and my abilities more, both on and off the pitch.”

Stand-off Helen Nelson

 Helen Nelson by Rugby People

The 24-year-old is in her first season playing in France with Montpellier.

“Everything about the challenge in France excites me. I am going out with my comfort zone, the standard of the games are high and, as a stand-off, I am running a backline whilst speaking little or no French, but it is all exciting,” she said.

No.8 Jade Konkel

The 25-year-old is just back in time from injury for this one.

She now turns out for Harlequins in England, but last term played for LMRCV.

“I learnt so much in France both on and off the pitch that it is hard to sum up everything that I took away from that spell,” she stated.

“I think the physicality over there really helped me and my offloading game has come on a lot.

“Everything about the rugby over in France was bigger than I was used to, the stadium we played in was great while a number of our matches were shown on television.”

Replacement back Lisa Martin

The 29-year-old playmaker is spending this season at LMRVC.

A few months ago she said:  “There has been a lot to learn since I got here and pre-season was a lot different than what I am used to, but as a back who is there to create things that was really good because we were practising a lot more with the ball rather than just focusing on the fitness side of things.

“Chloe [Rollie] has helped me to get my bearings in the local area while all of my new team mates have been great. There is the obvious language barrier, but we will get there and because there are also new coaches at the club it feels like a fresh start for everyone.”

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